Gwinnett County Public Schools | Education - Newsletter

Volume 3, Issue 3

March 2006

Mentors make a difference in Gwinnett schools


Retirees, business partners, community members, and parents and grandparents are among the thousands of citizens who volunteer their time and expertise each year to support teaching and learning in Gwinnett County schools. Programs like Junior Achievement and HOSTS (Helping One Student to Succeed) are in full swing in schools around the county.

Kanoheda ES photo collage
(Photos on left and top right) Kanoheda ES students perform for their mentors. (Photo center right) Speaker John Bryant (foreground) applauds the performance. (Photo bottom right) From left, Primerica Life Insurance President/CEO Jeff Fendler, Kanoheda ES Principal Terry Watlington, Mr. Bryant, and Primerica’s Susan Jones celebrate the program and the mentoring partnership.

A recent event celebrated volunteers from Primerica for their work with Kanoheda Elementary students on a financial literacy program called Banking on Our Future. The banking program is coordinated through Operation HOPE, a public-private partnership dedicated to urban economic empowerment. Guest speaker John Bryant, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, spoke to the mentors about education, volunteerism, and communities. Learn more about this financial literacy program when you click here. If you’re interested in exploring other mentoring opportunities in Gwinnett, contact your local school

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Dr. Mai Yin Tsoi“Our students’ ability to stay competitive and competent in our rapidly advancing Information Age is directly related to their future success in the workforce. Learning science, technology, math, and engineering enables kids to maximize their potential, to empower themselves, and to positively contribute to their community via their unique talents and gifts.” Dr. Mai Yin Tsoi, a chemistry teacher at Collins Hill High, GCPS’ Teacher of the Year, and a Georgia Teacher of the Year finalist.

Click here to learn more about an exciting, new Gwinnett initiative focused on math, science, and technology.

2007–12 building program gains speed as classroom needs grow

Next school year, system planners expect more than 152,000 students, an increase of 7,300 schoolchildren over 2005-06. Let’s put it another way… The number of additional students in Gwinnett’s schools will be more than the number of students served by 75% of Georgia’s school systems. So how does a school system deal with such unparalleled growth? This spring, system leaders are developing “The Plan” to bring classroom needs into check with the construction of 30-plus schools. Soon, a committee of involved citizens will take up the task of educating the community on the school system’s needs. Funding for “The Plan” would come from an extension of the penny tax for school construction. The School Board is expected to adopt a resolution late in the summer calling for a Nov. 7 vote on SPLOST III. Click here for land acquired for the 2007-12 building program to date, and here for a rundown on the current building program and the classrooms built.

GCPS takes first step toward systemwide foundation

School Board members have begun the process to establish a systemwide educational foundation to benefit schools and students in every cluster in the school system. The Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation, Inc., is being organized exclusively for educational purposes that support and enhance the instructional programs, services, and opportunities available to GCPS students. The countywide foundation is expected to appeal to larger, corporate donors, and should not have an impact on donations to school clubs, booster groups, PTAs, and cluster foundations that generally work with smaller donors.

Lilburn ES named 2006 School of Excellence

The faculty and staff and students of Lilburn Elementary got some great news earlier this month when state School Superintendent Kathy Cox announced that the school was the Georgia School of Excellence for Congressional District 13, one of 20 schools in the state recognized this year. The school was selected for showing the greatest gains for student achievement in reading/language arts and math over three years. Click here to learn more about the award and the criteria used to pick the winners.

Assessment News…
  • Testing studentJuniors pass at highest-ever rate on state writing test: The results from this year’s writing portion of the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT) show that Gwinnett’s teachers’ continued emphasis on writing across the curriculum is paying off. A record 98% of Gwinnett’s 11th graders passed the writing test on their first try. Click here for more on the test and here for school-by-school results.
  • Testing times and tips: This spring, Gwinnett students at several grade levels will have the opportunity to “show what they know” on local and state tests. These tests— when used as part of a comprehensive assessment program that includes homework, projects, classwork, teacher-developed tests, and other local assessments— help parents and teachers measure student achievement. Click here and scroll down for the remaining dates on the 2005-06 testing schedule. While these days have been set aside for test administration, it is important to remember that only a small amount of time— ranging from as little as one hour up to two hours— is actually spent testing on a given day. Click here and here for test-taking tips.

Retirements, transfers prompt appointments

Principals are the instructional leaders of our schools and the system has recruited and retained an exceptional corps of principals. However, as veteran principals near retirement, GCPS is continually replenishing the “talent pool,” developing and enhancing leadership skills among up and coming administrators. Retirements and transfers have prompted several leadership appointments from that pool, effective for the new school year. Click here for a list of new 2006-07 principals appointed to date.

GCPS budget season begins

It’s budget season again. Here are key budget dates for concerned citizens :

  • Board budget work sessions: April 15 and April 18
  • Tentative budget adopted: April 18
  • Recommended budget available for public review: beginning April 24
  • Public hearings: May 4 and May 11, with the final adoption May 11.

STARs shine at Gwinnett STAR Student-Teacher event

With a perfect score on the new SAT, Parkview HS’ Amanda Brouillette was selected as the county’s STAR student at the Feb. 24 STAR Student and Teacher Luncheon, an annual recognition of excellence sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. She chose Dr. Doug Wagner as her STAR teacher. Click here for a full list of GCPS’ local school STAR students and teachers.

Success lives here for Gwinnett students, staff, schools

Like the water tower says… “Success lives here” in Gwinnett… and works and learns here, too! Consider the following… Board-certified teachers; newly credentialed marketing students; the state’s top Academic Decathlon team; award-winning thespians; Title I Distinguished Schools; Georgia’s Assistant Principal of the Year; 1st-place finishers in the state Special Needs Bus Safety Road-e-o; equestrians bound for nationals; Gwinnett’s top counselors and media specialist; a teaching excellence award in technology education; the nation’s top e-administrator; a $296,000 math-science grant; honored musicians and artists; recognition for fine arts leadership; top-notch science teachers; plus coaching honors, the top athletic director in the state, and state championships in cheerleading, wrestling, swimming, and basketball. Click here for more honors and awards. Award lists are updated periodically as schools, staff members, and students are honored at the state and national levels. During the school year, “News You Can Use” is a weekly collection of honors and upcoming events submitted by local schools.

Hold the phone…

PhoneThe main phone line for GCPS is now 678-301-6000. Newcomer and general information is available by calling 678-301-6019. Click here to find other numbers for central office locations.

Spring calendar bursting with activities

From spring break to Area Board Meetings, Gwinnett’s spring calendar is bursting with activities. Click here for a list of GCPS dates through the end of April.

Let’s stay in touch…
  • laptopTune into GCPS TV. Click here for programming and cable channels for GCPS TV.
  • Watch the GCPS Web site. Click here for the home page.
  • Check your email every other month for this electronic newsletter. Click here for the e-News archives.
  • Look for Communiqué, GCPS’ community newsletter. Read the spring issue when you click here.

We would like to hear your suggestions for topics to cover in future issues of this publication, or ways we can keep in touch if you do not wish to receive this e-mail publication. Thank you for your continued support of public education and of Gwinnett County Public Schools' efforts to become a system of world-class schools. Please e-mail with your feedback and suggestions.


©2006 Gwinnett County Public Schools. All rights reserved. 3/06

GCPS:437 Old Peachtree Road NW, Suwanee, GA 30024-2978 (678) 301-6000
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2006 Gwinnett County Board of Education
Dr. Robert McClure, Chairman; Louise Radloff, Vice Chairman;
Carole Boyce; Dr. Mary Kay Murphy; and Daniel D. Seckinger,
CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks